My sister and I had dinner at Veselka tonight. Veselka (Ukrainian for ‘rainbow’) is a Ukrainian café in the East Village. I was drawn to it because of the name, here’s the story – Lily and I often use the term ‘Durdom Veselka’ (rus.-Veselka Mental Asylum) to describe an out of control situation humorously. Why we use this term? I do not know. It runs in the family for some reason.
Anyway, this 55-year-old café’s menu features breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and of course, Ukrainian classics – blintzes and pierogies! Blintzes are crepes and can be have sweet or savory fillings. As opposed to the French crepe, however, the Ukrainian blintz is not usually served in a sauce. And pierogi (A.K.A. vareniki) are semi-circle-shaped dumplings, which are fried or boiled and may be filled with anything from potatoes to sauerkraut to sour cherries. They are religiously served with sour cream.
Vareniki are one of my favorite foods. They always remind me of Odessa and my childhood, so they were my choice for dinner:
Veselka lets you mix and match fillings. I chose half spinach and cheese, and half sauerkraut and mushrooms. The platter was served with sautéed onions, sour cream and apple sauce. The vareniki were delicious and tasted just like what mama makes. The dough was perfect, not tough, and the fillings were yummy and perfectly seasoned. (I preferred the sauerkraut and mushroom filling.) At first I found it strange to be served apple sauce with my vareniki; I usually never eat apple sauce, can’t stand the texture, but it actually turned out to be quite a lovely pair. The portion size was great as well. I was satisfied : )
144 Second Ave
New York, NY 10003
What dishes remind you of your childhood?